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Offshore Voluntary Disclosure Program (OVDP) – Deciding to Pay to Avoid Criminal Exposure

Alex Moretsky

Alex Moretsky

By Alex Moretsky – July 14, 2014

So while on that island vacation years back you decided that instead of getting yourself a second home you’d find an offshore one for your money and investments. Well, be advised that the IRS has been pursuing international tax violations through civil audits and criminal investigations of unreported foreign bank accounts. So how can you avoid being caught up in this sweep? Glad you asked. In 2012, the IRS has announced a continuation of its Offshore Voluntary Disclosure Program (OVDP) whose objective is to bring taxpayers who have used undisclosed foreign accounts and foreign entities to avoid or evade taxes into compliance with U.S. tax laws. This program allows taxpayers to avoid substantial civil penalties and any criminal prosecution. The concept is that a qualifying person comes forward to the IRS before being contacted by the Service and attempts to correct past failures. The IRS will not seek criminal prosecution of anyone coming forward voluntarily who satisfies certain criteria. To qualify for the OVDP you need a pre-clearance which entails faxing to the IRS Criminal Investigation Development Center your name, date of birth, social security number and address. You will be notified if you are cleared to make a voluntary disclosure. After that there are criteria you need to meet:

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